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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

‘Dead Man's Lane’ by Kate Ellis

Published by Piaitkus,
1 August 2019.
ISBN: 978-0-349-41828-5 (PB)

Developer Joe Hamer is determined to turn Strangefields Farm in Tradmouth, Devon, into a holiday village. However, when a skull is found on the property, work has to be held up while experts are called in to determine its age. The Farm has a notorious history, as a local artist Jackson Temples was jailed in the 1990's for murdering a number of girls after luring them there with a promise of painting their portraits. However not all the bodies were ever discovered.

Detective Inspector Wesley Peterson contacts his friend Neil an archaeologist and asks him to have a closer inspection of the property in case there are any more bones, perhaps they could belong to the missing girls. Hamer is not at all happy about the further delay.

Then a woman's body is discovered floating in a nearby lake. On examination she is found to have been killed in exactly the same way as the victims of Temples'. Is it a copycat murder or was the wrong person jailed in the 1990's and the real perpetrator still at large? It's revealed that the dead woman was one of his 'girls' that he lured to the Farm and then allowed to go. She also belonged to the local amateur theatre company and investigations lead Wesley to wonder if her understudy was responsible for her murder as she craved for her part as the leading lady. 

At the same time the police are trying to solve the spate of burglaries on the homes of elderly people. Then an old man is murdered in his home. Is there a connection to the other killing?

It seems that as Wesley and the team follow one lead another sends them off in a different direction and when reports come in of several people seeing 'the dead reappearing' they are really baffled. Has this got anything to do with the case?  To add to the intrigue a diary is found recounting murders that took place in the 1660's also at Strangefields Farm. Is the place itself evil? Can a building influence peoples' behaviour?

Wesley then becomes really concerned when someone close to him disappears, has the killer struck again? What possible connection can there be and can he find them in time? 

A hugely enjoyable book full of unexpected twists and turns and false trails. Kate Ellis certainly has a knack for telling an intriguing story that has connections to the past and how they have an effect on the present.

I thoroughly recommend Dead Man's Lane for everyone who enjoys an exciting and compelling tale of revenge and greed.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell 

Kate Ellis was born in Liverpool and she studied drama in Manchester. She worked in teaching, marketing and accountancy before first enjoying writing success as a winner of the North-West Playwrights competition. Crime and mystery stories have always fascinated her, as have medieval history and archaeology which she likes to incorporate in her books. She is married with two grown up sons and she lives in North Cheshire, England, with her husband.
Kate's novels feature archaeology graduate Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson who fights crime in South Devon.  Each story combines an intriguing contemporary murder mystery with a parallel historical case. She has also written five books in the spooky Joe Plantagenet series set up in North Yorkshire as well as many short stories for crime fiction anthologies and magazines. Kate was elected a member of The Detection Club in 2014. She is a member of the Crime Writers Association and Murder Squad, and Mystery People. 
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Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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